Spots of bother

If you have been following the World T20 games you would be worried by the sharp fall in the standards of the core aspect of modern-day cricket, the television ads.

The commercials out there are more hopeless than Shahid Afridi’s captaincy, which is as good as describing someone as being balder than Yul Brynner. But still that is the fact.

Take the ad for a brand of fabric. Touted to be the ‘the world’s smartest fabric’, whatever that is, the commercial, without any voice-over, starts off promisingly with a close-up shot of the blue colour dress material. For a couple of seconds the shot lingers on the fabric, while four words about it are shown below on the screen. Three of the words describing the cloth seem perfectly reasonable — ‘UV protection’, ‘wrinkle free’ and ‘smooth touch’. And the last one is — I bet this will be the last word that you will ever come up with to describe any clothing material — ‘breathable’.  Yes, you read it right, that fabric is said to be ‘breathable’. And then the ad — this is the high point of it — ends.

Quite frankly, this commercial is basically a print ad that runs for 10 seconds on TV screen. It is an ad that would have been rejected by the 80s’ Doordarshan on the grounds of it being too basic and unimaginative.  And the irony of the whole thing is the fabric’s name: ‘Technosmart’.

Anyway, we move on to something more cheery, the commercial for a brand of air-conditioner celebrating its 60 years of existence. The ad has a series of montages of various people laughing out loud in happy profusion, the subliminal message that we are supposed to infer being that these people are joyful and giggling away heartily because they possess that particular air-conditioner. But the even more subliminal message that I certainly inferred was all the people shown in the commercial are the staff of the ad agency guffawing uncontrollably at the imbecility of the marketing team of the air-conditioning company that okayed such an ad in the first place. Seriously, silliness doesn’t even come to describe this ad, but by this time you’ll not be surprised when I tell you that this is not a very idiotic ad if you compared it to another one from the same AC company.

The AC company has a commercial for an ‘app’ that helps old people to make a ‘service request’ in quick time. That’s correct, the company has come up with an app, which has to be downloaded separately, with the explicit purpose of making things easy for the elderly to leave a message for the customer service department. This is a bit like giving a rope for climbing up to people who are slightly afraid of the escalator.

But the ad does make clear what we all have suspected for long: Companies have no sense of what customer service is.  Dear AC company, what most old people, or for that matter all of us, want in case of some technical fault in the appliance is a simple number for a phone that will be actually attended by a human person who can speak in normal understandable voice and who can take down an address without any confusion and then dispatch a service person to the given address on the appointed time, more importantly, on the appointed day without any ado.

Also, if you are trying to think of an app for the elderly people, it better be one that reminds them, every 10 or 15 minutes, where their phone is. Operating a smart phone is not a problem for most oldies, finding the phone is though.

Staying with technology, we also have an ad for HD TV channels where Indian T20 team captain M S Dhoni turns up at a person’s house and makes fun of the latter’s television. No, I am not exaggerating. Some ad whiz has indeed thought that it would be creative to have a commercial in which an Indian cricketing icon, the man who has won the country several top honours including the ODI World Cup, goes ‘dabba, dabba’ along with a gaggle of kids ridiculing the quality of TV in a total stranger’s house. This is downright creepy, man.

As I wind up, I can almost hear you wonder why I haven’t brought up that person who is more ridiculed at this moment than even Rahul Gandhi. Well, what is left to make fun of the girl in that 4G ad? Well, wait, we can still have a top cricketer show up and go ‘dabba, dabba’ at her telephone.

But, poor girl, she has copped so much flak already that I hope that she gets some respite. Perhaps, she should try out that breathable fabric.